Bayliss on his final lap
Aussie champ is going out on a high, writes STEPHEN OTTLEY
THE career of one of Australia’s greatest motor racing exports comes to an end this weekend. Troy Bayliss will take his last laps in the final round of the World Superbike Championship at Portugal’s new Portimao circuit.
The Ducati star has already clinched this year’s title on the company’s new 1098 F08 machine. It is his third title on as many different Ducati models, making him the only rider to achieve the feat.
The 39-year-old is looking to end his career with two more wins to add to his tally of 50 victories and 92 podiums in 152 starts.
‘‘I am a lot more relaxed now that I know that we have done what we set out to do,’’ Bayliss says. ‘‘We’ve won the riders and constructors titles and can tick that off the list. Now I can go to Portimao knowing a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m looking forward to racing there because what we saw during the recent test days was a very impressive track.’’
Despite all his success, Bayliss knows he has chosen the right time to call it quits.
‘‘It’s been a long and stressful year and I’m tired. I feel I have just enough energy left to complete these last two races ... I would love to finish the season, and my career, with a win, so that’s my goal this weekend, to ride with no pressure and just enjoy what will be my final two Superbike races,’’ he says.
Bayliss’s history with Ducati dates to 1998, when he rode for the Italian brand in the British Super- bike Series. He won that title in 1999 before being promoted to the World Superbike team to replace Carl Fogarty in 2000.
He won the title in 2001 and was runner-up in 2002 to American Colin Edwards in a thrilling final-race decider.
He moved to MotoGP in 2003 with Ducati and spent two season with the outfit before switching to the Pons Honda team for 2005.
The MotoGP bikes didn’t suit his riding style and he returned to World Superbikes in 2006 to win the title for Ducati again.
He made a one-off appearance at the MotoGP race in Valencia and dominated from the start to notch his only MotoGP win.
He will move back to Australia from his home in Monaco with his wife Kim and three children.
He has expressed an interest in following fellow motorcycle world champion Wayne Gardner into V8 Supercars, but hasn’t announced any official plans.
‘‘I don’t think I’m finished with racing. All I know is I’ve had enough of racing world superbikes,’’ he said earlier this year.
‘‘I love touring cars . . . I’d rather watch touring car races than any other racing. It’s close and it’s full-on, just like superbikes.’’
Calling it quits: Troy Bayliss has won three World Superbike Championship titles, riding for Ducati.